Report supports Wivenhoe engineers

AUSTRALIA'S peak engineering body supports the technical competence of engineers who released water into Brisbane's waterways during the 2011 Wivenhoe Dam crisis.

An Engineers Australia report, released on Monday, highlighted the intense and highly complex challenges dam engineers faced in responding to the flood crisis in 2011.

The report - a comprehensive analysis of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry's final report implications and its recommendations for engineering professionals - also focuses on four key areas within flooding and floodplain management including planning, resilience, response and implementation.

Senior engineers and flood-experts from Engineers Australia's Queensland Division Flood Committee found the dam operators performed appropriately "given the circumstances".

Engineers Australia Queensland Division president Steven Goh said the organisation had not questioned the engineers' technical competence during the floods.

"Flood operation is a multifaceted task that requires specialised operators who must use their expert technical judgment, with guidance from flood operation manuals or other appropriate documentation," he said.

"Community awareness programs to understand appropriate responses to flooding should be implemented well in advance of flood-crisis situations.

"Severe flooding has occurred in the past and can happen again. Ongoing community engagement and education is crucial during non-flood periods for the protection and safety of society,."

Mr Goh said floodplain management was currently the responsibility of local authorities, with some input from state and federal advisors.

But he said this approach was inconsistent across the state, resulting in varying flood management.

Mr Goh said this contrasted to other states where the State Government played a significant role in the floodplain management process.

"Having a more consistent approach throughout the state and Australia-wide would be a valuable contribution to mitigating the damage and providing a better level of community safety throughout all parts of Queensland," he said.

"Engineers have a critical role to play in protecting the community, particularly in times of crisis.

"Engineers Australia believes that the most important lessons to be learnt from the 2011 floods are those that go towards ensuring that improvements in floodplain management, flood preparedness and emergency services are implemented throughout the state for the future. "

>>See the complete Engineers Australia Queensland Flood Report



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